Analyst Relations – In Their Own Words

In my previous post I discussed why, from a client and agency perspective, an analyst relations (AR) programme would be a good thing to add to your marketing mix.

This time I wanted to let the analysts take centre stage and, in their own words, tell you why they think you should engage with them. I spoke to some of the leading analysts in the technology sector to ask them their views on analyst relations.

Why AR?

The first question I asked was, quite simply: “Why should firms talk to analysts at all?”

The answers I received were overwhelmingly about the expertise that analysts have. That’s why you really need to engage with them. They already know your market, your competitors and the requirements and challenges faced by your target customers, so an ongoing relationship with analysts, through an analyst relations programme, can help you learn from their expertise.

“To assist and guide analysts, helping them gain a deeper understanding of the company so they can better assess the company’s performance, benchmark it against competitors and make more valuable tactical and strategic recommendations for improvements.”

Emma Mohr-McClune, Global Data

…analysts are influential and are the best bet for getting an independent view of how your business fits into its market.”

Matt Hatton, Transforma Insights

If the primary reason to engage with analysts is a two-way exchange of knowledge, then you shouldn’t look for short-term gains from your AR programme. It can’t be measured in terms of coverage and column inches in the same way that your media relations will. Instead, you should be striving for influence – which is harder to measure, but more powerful in the long-run.

“[When asked what outcome they want] they usually say ‘coverage in a report’. This is when I gently laugh. ‘No,’ I say, ‘What you want is to get is in here,’ pointing at my head… in B2B it’s the stuff you don’t see that’s often the most valuable.”

Teresa Cottam, Omnisperience

Who to target?

If the goal of AR is to influence the influencer. How do you know who they are and who to target, especially if you’re new to analyst relations?

This is where a good agency will help you, and you should lean on the experience and expertise of your marketing team. However, when it comes to establishing an analyst relations programme there is a simple rule that you can follow – size is not important.

Even if you’ve never worked in analyst relations before, you’ve probably heard of some of the biggest analyst firms, companies such as Gartner, Forrester or IDC. It would be understandable to think that you should therefore speak to these household names first. Matt Hatton, Founding Partner at Transforma Insights, a leading research firm focused on the world of digital transformation, would disagree, “Far from it. There is a stack of us boutique firms focused on specific areas, living and breathing them every day.”

A great place to start any AR programme is with the specialist analyst firms that focus directly on your sector.

“One analyst who knows a space inside-out will provide substantially better insights than twenty analysts who never get out of the office to get face-to-face with the industry,” continued Hatton.

But now that we know which analysts to talk to, who from your organisation should do the talking? Ideally it would be someone from your senior management team. Or as Telecom Chief Analyst and Practice Lead Emma Mohr-McClune puts it, “Analysts need to understand the context and strategic direction of executive decisions, and that understanding can only be gained by exposure to the decision-makers.”

When should you brief analysts?

The simple answer is – whenever you have something substantive to say.

As I was told by an analyst who preferred to remain anonymous:

“Using industry analysts well ought to involve periodic input from the analyst on the state of the market and what that means for the supplier in question. To do this effectively, the two parties need to know each other pretty well and trust each other fully, which mainly requires spending time together.”

One of the best ways to work out how often you should speak to an analyst is to ask them. The relationship with an analyst should be two-way, it “is fundamentally one of trust and mutual benefits, and that all requires careful management,” says Mohr-McClune.

However, the most important answer to the question of when you should brief an analyst is – whenever they ask. Matt Hatton sums it up as:

“There are really two ways that companies interact with analysts: proactive and reactive. Proactive involves pushing messages, briefings and updates. Reactive is fielding enquiries from analysts and providing subject matter experts to speak on a topic. Of the two, reactive is far more important.”

When an analyst needs to speak to you it will be because they are producing a report, or maybe because they are producing bespoke research for a high-profile client. In either case, if you are asked, you definitely want to be involved.

Final advice

The final pieces of advice offered by the analysts focussed mainly on the importance of getting to know them, their areas of specialism and assessing their level of understanding, then using that knowledge to tailor your briefings to them.

Omnisperience analyst Teresa Cottam said that neglecting to do that research, “Is the biggest mistake firms who brief me make”. She said they should, “…figure out my level of knowledge and adjust your presentation. I still get people explaining basic concepts who won’t be hurried through their presentation and end up wasting both my time and their opportunity”.

Matt Hatton was more succinct, “If you want to brief me, you should understand my coverage area”, which for Matt is the Internet of Things.

There was one other piece of advice from Emma Mohr-McClune, who outlined the difference between how analysts and journalists should be briefed. She asserts that, ultimately, analysts want and need to hear some of the things that you can’t tell a journalist because, bringing us right back to the start, they need it for information and education, not to break your news.

“It’s important … to understand that analysts have no interest whatsoever in leaking information, or scoring a PR ‘scoop’. Should an analyst ever break an NDA, that would be, quite simply, the end of their career.”


What is B2B Analyst Relations?

Analyst relations is often an overlooked part of the B2B marketing mix. But whether you are a manufacturer, technology developer or service provider you should consider how analyst relations could help to drive you forward.

This is how a programme that influences the analyst community for your sector may help you.


An analyst’s primary job is to talk to their customers and give their opinion on who is performing well in the market, what skill sets they have, and if they deliver on what they promise in their sectors.

Analysts get paid for their expertise and market knowledge, which is then used primarily by their customers to make crucial decisions. And an analyst’s customer is potentially your customer who is using that analyst’s information to create a shortlist of companies to do business with.

You want to be someone that an analyst can recommend and to get on that shortlist. A primary reason for active and ongoing engagement in analyst relations is that it will help your sales process.


Traditionally, analysts generate detailed, often expensive to buy, reports. That’s because the information contained within them is highly researched, very detailed, and has demonstrable value to the buyer.

To be part of these reports you must speak to analysts and make a compelling, factual case for your current business and future plans. If they like what they hear, and you fit that particular report’s criteria, your credibility – and visibility – will increase accordingly.

In recent years, however, analysts have also become increasingly active on social media, tweeting, blogging and posting observations on LinkedIn.

Sometimes those activities are designed to help sell their latest report, but they often use those platforms to inform the market of recent trends, share interesting survey results, and highlight examples of new business endeavours that have caught their eye.

This could mean that they will inform the market about something interesting that you are doing, but they can’t if they don’t know about you.

Finally, in terms of gaining coverage, analysts are regularly asked by traditional industry and business media for quotes about what they are seeing in the marketplace. If they know about you and respect your products or service, you stand a chance that they’ll mention you and increase your media metrics.


Another great benefit of an analyst relations programme is that it can help you to ensure that your messaging matches what the market wants, or is willing, to hear. As part of an analyst briefing, subjecting your messaging to an analyst’s intelligence, interrogation, and interpretation will help you to refine and hone it.

Analysts know the market. They know your customers. They know your product range and those of your competitors. And, very importantly, they know how the market perceives you. This may differ from your perception, which is why it is so valuable. They are ideally placed to tell you if your messaging is on target or could run aground, but you can’t do this unless you establish a programme of regular engagement with them.

And you can do this at almost any stage of your marketing campaign. You’d ideally do it before you launch publicly, but mid-course corrections based on an analyst’s observations can be valuable at any time.

If you listen carefully, you will not only hear feedback about your messaging. Analysts will almost certainly know more about what your competitors are doing than you do. The beauty of establishing and nurturing such relations is that you can often infer a great deal – not only about how you are perceived in the marketplace during the conversation and questions asked – but what your competitors might be thinking.

How do analysts differ from journalists?

Or, another way of phrasing that question is, why do I need a distinct analyst relations programme?

Journalists want a story. Analysts want information.

It can be as simple as that, especially in B2B technology.

Journalists are driven by immediacy. “What can I write about today?”

Analysts typically take a longer view and are driven by, “What can I learn today that will be of use to me and my clients tomorrow?” They prefer to deal with in-depth analysis using data and information that can be carefully assembled, examined, and proven over time.

Many of the experienced and expert journalists we meet here at Napier can ask detailed, intelligent and probing questions, but the questions themselves would be different and the answers required would also need to be different than when speaking with an analyst.

You’ve probably heard your PR team tell you before a media interview that “nothing is off the record,” whereas analysts almost always want an off-the-record chat to allow them to understand you and your products better.

Working with analysts can help both your sales teams and your PR & marketing team, but you will only get value from analyst relations if you deal with them with intent and focus.

Using PR to… Maximise Trade Show Attendance

Trade shows are a great way to get out and meet people. They can offer a fantastic opportunity to meet up with existing customers in one place, but they also offer a chance to introduce yourself to new customers. They also attract the key industry media and so offer the possibility of media interviews and therefore improved media relationships.

As with any PR activity, the first thing you must do is to define what you want the outcome of the activity to be – what do you want to achieve with PR? For the purposes of this post, we are assuming that PR is primarily being used to attract prospects to your stand; with a secondary goal of generating media coverage and improving ongoing media relations.

Big Announcement

News will be at the heart of any PR activity and in this instance a big announcement – a product launch or a new customer – is important to announce at the show.

However, if you want to attract prospects who will be defining the stands they want to visit in advance, you need to make a big announcement ahead of the show. To get the best results you should announce some news that will make every possible prospect of yours realise that they have to visit you at the show.

The exact nature of the news will be particular to you, your industry, and the show you are attending. One tactic that works well though is to say something that could be considered slightly controversial. If you think your industry always does something wrong, now is the time to tell them how to do it right. In this way, you will influence all the conversations that happen around the event.

Media Relations

Big news helps to grab the attention of your prospects, but you would still expect your sales team to book specific meetings. The same is true for your PR team. In the weeks before the event, you need to make sure that you have a dedicated team who are contacting your key media to book meetings and interviews at the show.

Ideally, you will have another piece of news that will be announced at the event that your media relations team can pre-pitch and discuss under embargo to generate interest.

Trained Spokespeople

Once you have set the agenda of the show with your controversial news and have booked interviews with the key media, you need to ensure that your best spokespeople are ready and waiting to talk to them.

The first and most important thing is to make sure that they show up for media interviews. We understand that client meetings are important, but spokespeople should be prepared to block out a few hours of their time that cannot be altered. They also need to be ready and prepared to speak to the media, to know the key media messages (and possible pitfalls) and be comfortable to engage.


For trade shows a good media plan can help you to increase your awareness and get more traffic to your stand. But it can also help you to extend media coverage way beyond the show itself and maximise the event for you. And of course, your post-event media follow-up should fit into your wider PR and marketing plan.



Using PR to… Generate Leads

We all know that PR is a great tool to use, but it is even better when it is focused on a specific business need.

One of – if not the – most important business need is to generate leads and ultimately sales; and PR is a great tool to help you achieve that. We share some tips below on how to structure your PR activities to hit this goal.


Taking a moment to stop and determine what it is exactly you want to achieve and what the roadblocks might be is vital. As is focusing on who you want to reach and how they will react. This planning will help you to deliver the best possible PR campaign by understanding the news that you want to announce and the publications and markets that you want to reach.

However, you should also organise your time, your news, and your team. To break through with your target audience so that they not only recognise your brand and your benefits but are motivated enough to contact you, requires a consistent effort that needs to be organised in advance.


Any PR campaign should be driven by news – announcements telling your market of the great work you are doing.

However, the type of news you announce can have a strong impact on the audience that you will reach and how they will respond. To use PR to generate leads, you need to make sure that your news stories are focused on your industry-leading qualities.

By this, we mean news stories about exciting and game-changing new products, high-profile new clients and about the great results that clients have seen from working with you. Creating as many of these stories as possible during this period will support your goal of generating leads.


As well as the news announcing what you are doing as a business, PR can also help you to tell the market what you are thinking as a business. How you see the industry developing and how you intend to drive those changes with your innovation and leadership is a great story to tell.

Bold, strong, possibly controversial statements and predictions – that you can evidence – work well in the media and demonstrate to potential customers that you are out in front in your sector.

Beyond PR

Even the best PR campaign needs support from additional marketing channels. And if you are trying to turn general interest and awareness into a lead, then you need to reach people at multiple times, with multiple different messages and through multiple different channels.

To support the PR activity, you may want to run some advertising in key publications or online sites, draft some case studies to act as sales collateral, or start a podcast project. You could (and possibly should) also run some Google Ads, consider a project to improve your SEO or think about running an ABM campaign.


Finally, to generate leads – and ultimately sales – through a PR campaign you need to give people a reason to get in touch with you now (rather than in twelve months’ time) and make sure you can respond effectively when they do get in touch.

In PR you can’t be as obvious as to give people a direct call to action, but you can talk about a limited offer, a product selling out or maybe a seasonal reason to buy.

And once they do contact you, you need to make sure that your organisation can process the request, track them through the sales cycle and report the eventual sale to a PR win.

We all know that PR works, but sometimes you have to make sure it works for you and that you can track how it is working.